Alexis Burch: We Shouldn't Talk About the Boys on the Tracks

Artist Statement

“We Shouldn’t Talk About the Boys on the Track” is a conspiracy docu-fiction. I use my past in the city of Alexander as a foundation for introducing the small town and its looming conspiracy about why two teenage boys wound up dead across the train tracks.

I wanted to explore an unsolved murder case from my hometown, and decided to bring in my perspective as someone who lived there and left the community. Upon my return, I want to stir up the story that is still quietly discussed amongst the locals.

To heighten the curiosity and mystery surrounding the case, the film transforms to a film noir midway through. The story is then told in fragments of phone call conversations and dramatic retelling. I didn’t want archival footage that can be seen in a typical trendy true crime documentary. I wanted abstraction to create an eerie calmness – the sort of distance that will create doubt in the minds of outsiders. Display what is known but obscure the medium. Our town knows this case, and we are no longer shocked by the unraveling details and accounts by so many members of the community. Its oddities are now simply a fabric of the town.

The introduction of FBI documents brings gravity to the story, reminding viewers that yes, this is a real story that was heavily investigated for years. I end the film by conducting as I edit, breaking the fourth wall with a parallel to my dance as Bill Clinton, seen as the man in charge. I have taken the responsibility of passing on the story, like an orchestrator sharing a piece of music known by some, but about to be shared with many in its own arrangement.

I hope viewers will leave the film craving more information. This is a crumb of everything about the case that can be found online, and I want it to be sought out and rediscovered by a newer, internet-savvy generation.

About the Project

  • Title of Work: We Shouldn't Talk About the Boys on the Tracks
  • Medium: Six minute duration conspiracy film
  • Student's Name: Alexis Burch
  • Major: Digital Storytelling
  • Anticipated Graduation Date: December 2022
  • Hometown: Alexander, Arkansas, United States
  • Student's Mentor: Lynn Kim
  • Mentor's Department: Digital Storytelling


Linda Blockus

You did a great job with your Artist's Video!


Andrea Heiss

A distinctive point of view.  You have developed a unique approach to this topic.

I appreciate your description of the origin of the story.  Your sense of film noir is palpable.  Also, your reliance or interest in performance in storytelling is understandable, especially during the pandemic.  Visually unsettling and full of shadows.


Sam Myers

Alexis, you are an egotistical human being with no sense of depth or sensitivity, and you blatant shortcomings are reflected tenfold in this lousy, worthless film made on the bones of two young men you somehow think you can manipulate posthumously. Otherwise, good job.